Talk about an uphill battle. A firm representing one of the most loathed professions in Washington is trying to rehabilitate its image in an ad campaign set to launch next month, trying to make the case for lobbyists. Politico has obtained one of the campaign's advertisements, which is described as a "lighthearted attempt to solve a serious problem for lobbying firms: 'Lobbyist' has become an eight-character, four-letter word." Spearheaded by Van Scoyoc Associates, the ad will appear in Fundbook, a guide to federal grants and programs, and contains a survey showing organizations and local governments that lobbyists really, truly care about their needs:

The Van Scoyoc advertisement states that “whatever you think about lobbying, we’d like to know, so we’ve come up with a quick 10-question survey we hope you’ll take the time to answer.” A draft of the survey poses questions such as: “What is your opinion of lobbying’s value?” “How successful has your organization been in winning federal grants?” and “What is the best thing Washington could do to help your community and/or organization?”

The charm offensive is apparently a necessity as the lobbying business has (briefly!) come on hard times with the economic downturn. As Politico's Dave Levinthal notes, "The trend is clear: Spending on federal lobbying by municipalities and other nonfederal governments soared from $37.2 million in 1999 to $93.3 million in 2009, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. But that figure dipped slightly in 2010, and this year, it’s seems it will barely crack the $80 million mark." We don't know about you, but The Atlantic Wire weeps for the struggling lobbyists of this nation's capital. Maybe they'll find more support at the Super Committee, which meets today.